Nectarines are a wonderful fruit to eat and they’re a wonderful fruit to bake with. These stone fruits are in season through early fall, and they are often at their best towards the end of the growing season. Nectarines have a very sweet, floral flavor to them and a firm, yet juicy, flesh that really shines in most desserts – yet peaches tend to be favored over nectarines when it comes to baking, even though nectarines might be even more delicious than peaches when incorporated into your desserts. If you haven’t used nectarines much for baking, it might even surprise you to learn that many pastry chefs use some (or even all) nectarines in their “peach” desserts to amp up their flavor.
Fortunately, it is easy to bake with nectarines! Choose fruit that is fairly firm, with a slight give to it. Nectarines have a very smooth, thin skin that doesn’t need to be removed before baking, though you can remove it with a knife or a vegetable peeler, if you prefer. The skin typically comes off more easily than fuzzy peach skins do. As with peaches, there are two types of nectarines: freestone and clingstone. The freestone have a pit that is loose in the center of the fruit and very easy to remove for baking.
You can put nectarines into any recipe that uses stone fruit, including desserts that call for peaches, plums and apricots. When baked, nectarines take on an intense sweetness and become very tender. Here are a few of my favorite nectarine recipes: